Genna Valenzuela, 8, left, and sisters Katie, 3, and Emily

The City of Morgan Hill is preparing to hire a relocation consultant to help with the implementation of downtown revitalization plans, which includes relocating businesses on City-owned properties in preparation for future demolition and development.
On Wednesday, the five-member Redevelopment Successor Agency Board of Directors, which is comprised of the five City Council members, was scheduled to hire the consultant Overland Pacific & Cutler for a maximum of $143,187 for the services which include developing a relocation plan for affected existing businesses, project management and planning for the City’s Long Range Property Management Plan, cost estimates and benefit analysis and other relocation assistance, according to City staff.
The City is currently working with the Morgan Hill Economic Development Corporation, Chamber of Commerce and Downtown Association to develop the LRPMP, a state-mandated document that will specify how the City plans to dispose of or develop the downtown properties that were purchased by the Redevelopment Agency in 2008.
The properties – including the Granada Theater, Downtown Mall, former Simple Beverages site and others – are now owned by the City as the state shut down the RDA last year.
The City has about $25 million in bond proceeds issued by the RDA in 2008, and plans to use this money to implement the downtown revitalization plan.
That plan includes completing the purchase of the BookSmart shopping center on Depot Street, between Second and Third streets, for $2 million, and building a $10-million, 381-space parking garage. The structure is intended to provide retail space on the ground floor, and parking for both VTA commuters in need of public transportation and downtown visitors and residents, according to City staff.
The VTA parking lot across the railroad tracks from the proposed parking structure site is slated to one day be developed for residential use, according to City staff. The City and VTA jointly own that property.
Many of the eight tenants of the Depot Street building – BookSmart, Peking Restaurant, Jesus Restaurant, United Academy of Martial Arts, Cherisse’s Hair Salon, Continental Stitch, MHAT and Eastern Treasures – are already worried about the prospect of moving, even if the moves will be assisted financially and logistically by City resources. They hope wherever they have to move, they will remain downtown, according to the tenants.
The Morgan Hill Downtown Association last month sent the EDC and City a letter noting that the shopping center sees more than 100,000 customers per year, though a recent survey of the tenants conducted by Cherisse White of Cherisse’s Hair Salon pegs this number closer to 275,000.
At the same Successor Agency Board meeting Wednesday, the Council was scheduled to consider hiring “urban design consultant” City Design Collective to assist with the design and planning for the slate of bond-related projects to be proposed in the City’s LRPMP, for a maximum cost of $70,720.
Cherisse’s Hair Salon – 5,000 annually, 100 weekly
BookSmart – 62,500 annually, 1,712 weekly
Continental Stitch – 3,900 annually, 75 weekly
Eastern Treasure – 500 annually, 10 weekly
Jesus Restaurant – 130,000 annually, 2,600 weekly
MHAT public television – 480 annually, 10 weekly
Peking Restaurant – 45,625 annually, 875 weekly
UAMA – 14,480 annually, 2,600 weekly
Total – 262,485 annual customers
Source: Survey of tenants conducted by Cherisse White, Cherisse’s Hair Salon

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Michael Moore is an award-winning journalist who has worked as a reporter and editor for the Morgan Hill Times, Hollister Free Lance and Gilroy Dispatch since 2008. During that time, he has covered crime, breaking news, local government, education, entertainment and more.


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